My Year of Prakash Raj

Some people spend a year
cooking Julia Child's recipes, or following all of the rules in the Bible, or reading books by people who spent a year doing something. My quest is to watch the 200-some films of South Indian character-actor-extraordinaire, Prakash Raj. (It'll probably take more than a year... and I'll post about some Prakash-less films here as well.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Round-up for January 2015

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total: 2

Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total (as of January 31, 2015): 208

Race Gurram, Mithileya Seetheyaru

I watched two (!!) Prakash Raj movies this month, which is already two more than I watched in all of 2014. During my hiatus, it seems like a lot more films are available online, which is helpful since I'm so used to watching just about everything (American TV, K-Dramas, etc) through online services. I've also noticed that a lot of the older Tamil and Kannada films that I couldn't track down are now available online. It's fantastic that so many older films may get second life, AND that I was able to move five-six films from my "can't get" to "watch online" column!

Something new, and something old.


Race Gurram (Telugu, 2013)

Date Watched: 1/24/15
Role type: Prakash Dad
The story:  (From wikipedia)Ram and Lakshman aka Lucky are brothers and are polar opposites in nature. While the former is a assistant commisioner of police trying to put factionist turned politician Siva Reddy behind the bars, Lucky is a happy-go-lucky guy aiming for a visa to America. Their mother wishes to see them united. Siva Reddy kills Sekhar, a sincere ACP who happens to be Ram's friend and Sekhar's father wants to stop Siva Reddy from contesting in the elections and eventually get him arrested. Lucky falls for Spandana, a very stoic person who shows little emotion as taught by her father, Bheem Prakash who believes that one can control the world if he can control his emotions.
Thoughts on the film: It's been awhile since I watched one of the Telugu blockbusters, and this was a great re-entry. I really enjoyed the fast pace, the quick edits, the humor, and Allu Arjun's performance.  The women's roles were small, but I liked that both Shruti Hassan and Saloni had essentially comedic roles. Shruti was more funny in the first part, as the emotionless devote of her father (Prakash Raj), and Saloni was really funny in the few scenes when she was running from her own wedding to reunite with Ram. More comedy parts for women in Telugu blockbusters, please!
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: In the first half you could really see the character walking on the fine line of maintaining his zen like calm or lashing out in the face of many distractions. I appreciated that when we finally did breakdown, it was more played for comedy and not anger.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: During the song "Cinema Choopistha Mava", as Prakash watches in confusion and mounting comedic hysteria to the cinematic, emotional romance of his daughter and Lucky.

I want to go to this cafe.


Mithileya Seetheyaru (Kannada, 1988)

Date Watched: 1/31/15
Role type: Prakash Doctor
The story: I couldn't find a synopsis online, so here's what I could make out: there's a family with two (maybe three) daughters. Father drinks; mother is long-suffering;  older daughter finds a potential spouse but can't marry him for some reason; younger daughter is raped by rowdies and left mentally ill and pregnant; mom commits suicide or dies; father realizes error of his ways; baby is born which brings some closure and happinees.
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles) The one thing I was able to glean from the wikipedia description is that director was a woman, and the film did a great job of focusing on the female characters. There were some small cameos by Vishnuvadhan and Shankar Nag, but most of the screentime was with the lead actresses Geeta, Akhila Thandur and Kalpana Iyer. Even though lots of awful things happened, I appreciated that the family was shown in a (brief) moment of happiness that didn't involve conventional resolutions like a marriage, or revenge.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: This is Prakash Raj's very first film credit, and he appears as the doctor who treats the pregnant and mentally ill younger sister. It's interesting to think about these early roles, and if directors were watching this thinking, "that actor shows promise" or whether the young actor was thinking about whether he was on a "leading man" or "character actor" track.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Really just two modes:
Wearing a white coat in a hallway.
Wearing scrubs, against a blue background.

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